‘I knew from the age of three what I wanted to do,’ sculptor Carolyn Mulholland tells Brian McAvera
Brian McAvera: Carolyn, you were born in Lurgan, Northern Ireland in 1944, which was not exactly an auspicious breeding ground for artists. Who were your parents, what was it like growing up in Lurgan and do you have any defining memories of the period?
Carolyn Mulholland: My father worked in the linen industry, which is why we came to Lurgan from Belfast. Mother was a primary school teacher and she was born five miles away in Donacloney, so it was home ground. I do have defining memories. When I was three months old, I got sick. I kept conking out and coming to. Until I was nineteen, I had severe asthma attacks, so I didn’t do games or socialise. I missed a lot of school, but I drew and painted constantly and did plasticine modelling; it had an awful smell! My mother’s family were artistic – crafts, painting, making things. My aunt and cousins were painters and ceramic artists so it was not unusual for me to draw and fiddle around with colour and make things. I remember painting on a half-dry plastered wall! There were other things that assisted. I had to take ephedrine because of the asthma. It was a stimulant and, I suspect that it accelerated my imagination. With the isolation and the drawing, it was the only escape from illness.
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